WiFi RFID demonstration for resource tracking in a statewide disaster drill


  • Stacey L. Cole, MBA
  • Javeed Siddiqui, MD, MPH
  • David J. Harry, PhD
  • Christian E. Sandrock, MD, MPH, FCCP




Radio Frequency Identification, RFID, disaster preparedness, emergency, ambulance, technology


Objective: To investigate the capabilities of Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tracking of patients and medical equipment during a simulated disaster response scenario.
Design: RFID infrastructure was deployed at two small rural hospitals, in one large academic medical center and in two vehicles. Several item types from the mutual aid equipment list were selected for tracking during the demonstration. A central database server was installed at the UC Davis Medical Center (UCDMC) that collected RFID information from all constituent sites. The system was tested during a statewide disaster drill. During the drill, volunteers at UCDMC were selected to locate assets using the traditional method of locating resources and then using the RFID system.
Results: This study demonstrated the effectiveness of RFID infrastructure in real-time resource identification and tracking. Volunteers at UCDMC were able to locate assets substantially faster using RFID, demonstrating that real-time geolocation can be substantially more efficient and accurate than traditional manual methods. A mobile, Global Positioning System (GPS)- enabled RFID system was installed in a pediatric ambulance and connected to the central RFID database via secure cellular communication. This system is unique in that it provides for seamless region-wide tracking that adaptively uses and seamlessly integrates both outdoor cellular-based mobile tracking and indoor WiFi-based tracking.
Conclusions: RFID tracking can provide a realtime picture of the medical situation across medical facilities and other critical locations, leading to a more coordinated deployment of resources. The RFID system deployed during this study demonstrated the potential to improve the ability to locate and track victims, healthcare professionals, and medical equipment during a region-wide disaster.

Author Biographies

Stacey L. Cole, MBA

Medical Student, University of Utah School of Medicine, Salt Lake City, Utah; Center for Health and Technology, UC Davis School of Medicine, Sacramento, California.

Javeed Siddiqui, MD, MPH

Clinical Associate Professor, Center for Health and Technology, UC Davis School of Medicine, Sacramento, California; Department of Internal Medicine, UC Davis School of Medicine, Sacramento, California.

David J. Harry, PhD

Director of Technology Services, California Telehealth Network, Center for Health and Technology, UC Davis School of Medicine, Sacramento, California.

Christian E. Sandrock, MD, MPH, FCCP

Associate Professor of Medicine, Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine, UC Davis School of Medicine, Sacramento, California.


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How to Cite

Cole, MBA, S. L., J. Siddiqui, MD, MPH, D. J. Harry, PhD, and C. E. Sandrock, MD, MPH, FCCP. “WiFi RFID Demonstration for Resource Tracking in a Statewide Disaster Drill”. American Journal of Disaster Medicine, vol. 6, no. 3, May 2011, pp. 155-62, doi:10.5055/ajdm.2011.0055.